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3 Art Projects Using Leaves

3 Summer Art Activities with Leaves

Summer is the perfect time to create art with your child.  Nature provides endless inspiration for art.  Here are three fun art activities using leaves that you can do with kids or just on your own!

This post was created as part of the Elmer’s Crafty Bloggers team.

Learning Activity Topic:  Using nature to inspire art

Educational Foundation:

1.  Identifying and sorting items from nature

2.  Using shapes and variety to create a composition

3.  Learning about negative and positive space

4.  Gaining experience using paint brushes, inks and markers

nature scavenger hunt

Begin by going on a nature walk with your child or students.  Bring a bucket or bag to collect things from nature.  Collect any items you find on the ground (leaves, rocks, grasses, flowers, candy wrappers etc.).  Look for shapes that are interesting and objects that are the right size for the paper you will be using for your art projects.  Be careful to supervise your children to make sure they are only picking up objects that are safe to touch.

This activity can promote all sorts of interesting discussions and questions.  

  • Point out interesting shapes, textures and colors. 
  • As your child has questions, talk about topics that arise related to nature, grass, leaves, litter, etc.
  • When you return home, sort through the objects.  Is there anything man-made or is it all natural?  If the object is man-made, what is it made out of and what do you think it was used for?
  • Compare the sizes and weights of all the objects.
  • If your child is interested in learning more about a particular type of natural material, find children’s books to read. 
  • Older kids can use guidebooks to identify things from nature. 
  • Practice using a camera and take photographs of what you find. 
  • Let the child’s interests guide you.  As you start an art activity, your child may have ideas of their own and be open to let them explore their own way of creating.


 Art Project #1

spray inks with leaves

Materials used:


1.  Select several leaves, feathers, rocks or other natural materials to arrange on your piece of watercolor paper.

2.  Pour liquid watercolors into small cosmetic spray bottles and dilute with water.  Another option is to purchase ink sprays from a craft store.  Protect your workspace by placing newspapers on your table.

3.  Spray a variety of colors onto your paper.  Use a paper towel to dab areas that become pooled with ink.  Younger children may need help spraying.

spraying with inks

4.  When you are satisfied, remove the leaves to reveal the finished picture.  The paper will remain white in the areas where the leaves were placed.

spray inked leaves

5. Additional extensions:  Use Painters Paint Pens to add lines, patterns and designs.   Add glitter glue for extra sparkle.


Art Project #2

collage with leaves

Materials used:


1.  Select, arrange and glue several leaves onto a piece of watercolor paper.

Leaf Collage

2.  Color around the leaves with Color Slicks.  Since Color Slicks are water-soluble, you can use a paintbrush dipped in water to blend the colors.  Watercolor paints can also be used in combination with the Color Slicks to create a vibrantly colored background.

Leaf Collage

3.  After your background has dried, you can draw on top of the leaves with the paint markers and add shimmer with glitter glue.

Leaf Collage:  Art Projects for kids using leaves Leaf Collage Leaf CollageThe leaves will start to dry and crinkle after awhile, so take a picture of your beautiful artwork!


Art Project #3

Tracing and painting leaves

Materials used:


1.  Choose several leaves or other natural materials with interesting shapes.  Arrange them on your paper.


2.  Use a black permanent pen or marker to trace around the objects.

Tracing leaves

This example is by my daughter, who is entering kindergarten this fall.  She finished hers by coloring with markers.

Tracing leaves

3.  After tracing the leaves, color them in with markers, watercolor paints or Board Mate Color Slicks.  The Color Slicks are water-soluble, so you can use a paintbrush dipped in water to blend the colors.  You can also dip your paintbrush in water, rub it onto the tip of the Color Slicks and use it like paint.  In this example, I used watercolor paints and Color Slicks to add color.

Tracing leaves

Tracing leaves

A big thank you to Elmer’s for sponsoring this post and providing products to use.  All opinions and tutorial instructions are my own.

Visit the Elmer’s website for more fun summer ideas and info about their products, or find them on Facebook.

Leaf Art Activities

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About Marcia Beckett

Marcia is an elementary art teacher and loves painting, drawing, sculpture, art journaling and clay. Her blog, Art is Basic, features many exciting art projects for kids.

One Response to 3 Art Projects Using Leaves

  1. kara says:

    your blog is AWESOME and projects are so dynamic